Presentation on theme: "The UN human rights system and indigenous peoples"— Presentation transcript:
1 The UN human rights system and indigenous peoples Treaty and charter bodies
2 This presentation will cover: Charter bodiesHuman Rights CouncilExpert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesSpecial Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous peopleTreaty bodiesSeven main UN human rights treaties that are of particular relevance for indigenous peoples
3 UN Human Rights system The UN human rights system is composed primarily of two kinds of bodies:Charter-based bodies, including the Human Rights Council and its subsidiary mechanisms and thematic mandate holder (e.g. the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous PeopleTreaty bodies - created under the international human rights treaties and made up of independent experts mandated to monitor States parties' compliance with their treaty obligations.
4 Charter bodies: The Human Rights Council (HRC) and its subsidiary bodies/mechanisms The HRC was established in 2006,replacing the Human Rights Commission.It is a subsidiary organ of theGeneral Assembly.
5 HRC Mandate:Promote human rights education and learning as well as advisory services, technical assistance and capacity-building;Serve as a forum for dialogue on thematic issues on all human rights;Make recommendations to the General Assembly for the further development of international law in the field of human rights;Promote the full implementation of human rights obligations undertaken by States and follow-up to the goals and commitments emanating from United Nations conferences and summits; andUndertake a Universal Periodic Review (UPR), of the fulfilment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments.
6 Functioning & Decision Making Regular Sessions- It has 3 sessions per year (total of 10 weeks)- March (4 weeks)- Member states have 5 minutes to speak, observers have 3 minutes.Special Sessions- These are meetings focusing on one specific and/or urgent human rights situation/violation. They are held in the same way as normal sessions.- Members try to adopt resolution by consensus, if they cannot reach an agreement, they go to a vote.Main action of the Council:Pass resolutions or decisions.Create a special procedure, by mandating an expert or a group of experts to address human rights violations.
7 The HRC and indigenous peoples Adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (before it was passed to the General Assembly)Extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoplesCreated the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesIndigenous participationIndigenous peoples’ organizations can attend the sessions of the Human Rights Council if their organizations have consultative status with ECOSOC or if they are accredited by such organizations.They can also provide information through organizations that have ECOSOC status
8 The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples MandateTo provide the Human Rights Council with thematic expertise on the rights of indigenous peoples mainly through studies and research-based advice;To suggest proposals to the HRC for its consideration and approval; andTo report annually to the HRC
9 Working MethodologyFive independent experts meet annually for up to five days.Determines its own methods of work, but does not adopt resolutions or decisions.Sessions are open to the participation of observers, such as States, UN agencies, NGOs and others.
10 Prof. S. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur - 2008-2011 The Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous PeoplesEstablished by the Commission on Human Rights in Mandate renewed by the Human Rights Council in 2007.Prof. S. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur
11 Functions:To examine ways of overcoming obstacles to the protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people and to identify, exchange and promote best practicesTo gather, request, receive and exchange information and communications on alleged violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoplesTo formulate recommendations and proposals on appropriate measures and activities to prevent and remedy violations of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peopleTo work in close cooperation with other special procedures and subsidiary organs of the Human Rights Council, relevant UN bodies, the treaty bodies, and human rights regional organizations
12 In the fulfilment of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur: Presents annual reports on particular topics or situations of special importanceUndertakes country visitsExchanges information with Governments concerning alleged violations of the rights of indigenous peoplesUndertakes activities to follow-up on the recommendations included in his reports
13 Communications Urgent appeals In cases of imminent danger of violations of the rights of indigenous individuals and communitiesThe intention is to ensure that the appropriate State authorities are informed as quickly as possible of the circumstances so that they can intervene or prevent human rights violationsAllegation lettersIf violations have already occurred or the situation is of a less urgent character and the impact on the victim can no longer change.
14 ILO’s Contribution to the work of the Special Rapporteur The ILO provides information on the situation of indigenous peoples in the countries that the Special Rapporteur visits, and on the various themes examined by the Rapporteur.The ILO responds to specific country recommendations by the Special Rapporteur
15 Human Rights Treaties & Treaty Bodies There are seven major international human rights treaties that deal with civil and political rights, economic and social rights, racial discrimination, torture, gender discrimination, children's rights and migrant workers.By ratifying the treaties, States subscribe to these standards and commit themselves to implementing the rights at the national level.The treaty bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor implementation of the treaties by States parties.
16 HUMAN RIGHTS TREATIES AND THEIR SUPERVISORY BODIES HUMAN RIGHTS TREATYNAME OF SUPERVISORY BODY /TREATY BODIESThe International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)The Human Rights Committee (HRC)The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural RightsThe International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)The Committee on the Elimination of Racial DiscriminationThe Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)The Committee Against TortureThe Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against WomenThe Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)The Committee on the Rights of the ChildInternational Convention on the Protection of theRights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their FamiliesCommittee on Migrant Workers
17 Functions of the Committees Consider the reports of states and issue Concluding Observations, which refer both to positive aspects of a State's implementation of the treaty and areas where further action needs to be takenConsider individual complaints and communications. Depending on the treaty in question, this may be through the inquiry procedure, the examination of inter-state complaints and the examination of individual complaints.General comments. Each of the treaty bodies publishes its interpretation of the provisions it monitors in the form of general comments (CERD and CEDAW use the term ‘general recommendations’).
18 The Treaty Bodies and the ILO International labour standards and UN human rights treaties are complementary and mutually-reinforcing.The Treaty Bodies take into account international labour standards and comments made by the ILO‘s supervisory bodies, often through reports and information provided by the ILO.In some instances, the ratification of specific ILO Conventions has been recommended (e.g. ILO Convention No. 169 by CERD).The ILO Committee of Experts follows the work of the treaty bodies and takes their comments into consideration, particularly in the areas of child labour, forced labour and discrimination.
19 Treaty Bodies’ Concluding Observations on Indigenous Peoples in relation to ILO Convention No. 169 General Comment on Article 27 of the ICCPR of the Human Rights Committee states that: Culture manifests itself in many forms, including a particular way of life associated with the use of land resources, especially in the case of indigenous peoples. That right may include such traditional activities as fishing or hunting(…)General Comment No. 23 of the Human Rights Committee stated that: “Indigenous communities must have effective participation in decisions that affect the community (...)”. And in some individual cases the Committee has also affirmed that when taking action that might infringe with indigenous peoples’ rights, states have to consult indigenous peoplesThe Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in its concluding observations on Colombia (paragraph 33) urged “the State party to ensure that indigenous peoples participate in decisions affecting their lives.”CERD in its General Comment XXIII pointed out that States have to “ensure that members of indigenous peoples have equal rights in respect of effective participation in public life and that no decisions directly relating to their rights and interests are taken without their informed consent.”Numerous concluding observations of the treaty bodies, in particular the CERD, have addressed indigenous issues in specific countries and recommended the ratification of ILO Convention No. 169.